How to Do Your Own Pedicure in 6 Easy Steps
You don't need to visit a nail salon to get beautiful, professional-looking toes. If you follow these steps, you can save money and get pretty feet from home.
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What you’ll need for a DIY pedicure
To help you achieve a professional-looking DIY pedicure that lasts from the comfort of your own home, Anita Morello-Zappacosta, a 20-year nail veteran and the executive director for OmegaLabs and Tropical Shine, shares her advice. After you clean up your nails and learn the right way to file them you need to invest in the right supplies, which are: a footbath of warm to hot water (plastic tub or your real one); your favorite body wash or foot cleanser; an exfoliating foot product; a foot file, a pumice bar, cuticle oil, a wooden stick to push back your cuticles, your favorite moisturizing cream, a clear base coat, your favorite nail polish, and top coat. If you need to replace the pedicure you’ve had for months, here’s how to remove gel nail polish at home.
Step 1: Prep your toes
Once you’ve gotten all the materials you need for your DIY pedicure ready, it’s time to prep your toes. “First, gently remove all polish from your toes,” instructs Morello-Zappacosta. “File your toenails to the desired shape, then brush, and file dust away.” If nails are long, trim with a nail clipper first.
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Step 2: Soak your feet
Just because you aren’t visiting a salon doesn’t mean you don’t get to enjoy a bit of R&R! Even with an at-home pedi, your feet should get to soak. “Put a bath towel down under the warm footbath and drop those tired feet in,” says Morello-Zappacosta. You can optionally add your favorite aromatherapy oil, Epsom salts, tea tree oil, etc. for added cleansing and fragrance. As your feet soak in the dishpan (or, if you’re feeling pro, a foot bath) for five to ten minutes, your skin will be cleaned and softened, which is essential for the upcoming exfoliation. Don’t forget to put on your favorite music and relax!
Step 3: Remove any dead skin
“Next, apply callus remover to the calloused area of your feet. Allow it to sit for a few minutes,” says Morello-Zappacosta. “Then use the pumice bar to slough off dry, dead skin. This will reveal soft, smooth, and callous-free feet.” After all, what’s the point of having pretty toes if the rest of your feet are hardened and dry? “Carefully wipe the feet after filing, and wash off all the callous remover. Rinse your feet in the pan of water and towel dry,” Morello-Zappacosta instructs.
Step 4: Clean up your cuticles
We promise it’s almost time to apply your favorite nail polish, but there are a few more areas that need your attention (namely your cuticles). “Use the Cuticle oil on the cuticles of your toes,” says Morello-Zappacosta. Then, with one of your wooden stick pedicure tools, gently push them back. “Now softly buff the nails and edges with the buffer block, removing any excess residue.”
Step 5: Moisturize and massage
This is hands-down the best step of any DIY pedicure, whether at the salon or at home. “Use your favorite moisturizing lotion to massage your feet, toes, and ankles. You can even go up the leg to knee if you choose,” says Morello-Zappacosta. “Work in circular motions on the foot and legs, as well as around the ankles—pinching the toes for circulation. Also, massage arches and heals.” Can you say ahhhhhh? Nothing beats a good foot massage. Once you’re finished, remove residual moisturizing cream from the toenails.
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Step 6: Paint your toenails with polish
It’s finally time for the grand finale! You’re ready to apply your polishes. Wipe your nails clean of any lotion first. Then, “apply a good clear base coat for hardening as well as great polish adhesion. Wait a few seconds, then apply your favorite nail polish,” says Morello-Zappacosta. “Wait a few minutes for the polish to set, then apply your top coat sealant.” Finally, you can sit back and let your gorgeous toes dry. Your efforts will have fully paid off when you get to show them off at home or out in sandals! Now, learn about what your nail polish color reveals about you.
- Anita Morello-Zappacosta, nail veteran and the executive director for OmegaLabs and Tropical Shine